Warne and McDermott keen to help Lehmann
Shane Warne and the former Australia bowling coach Craig McDermott have offered their help to Darren Lehmann after the newly appointed head coach welcomed "legends" into the dressing room to share their experience and guidance with the current side.
Lehmann had said he welcomed former players into the dressing room, stating they "are an important part of what we're trying to create." Responding in his column for The Telegraph, Warne said, "I am always there to help any Australian cricketer and always have been. If I need to be around at practice to have a chat with boys about tactical stuff or bowling then I will do that. It's good to be part of the set-up but most of time my role will be informal, catching up on the phone or chatting over a drink or meal. I do not need a fancy job title to help out."
McDermott was similarly enthusiastic about having closer links to the national team after his departure from the fulltime role for personal reasons in 2012. Since then he has returned to be employed by Cricket Australia at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane, helping the Ashes tourists on their preparatory camp, but now expressed interest in travelling with the team once more.
"If they ask, I'd certainly consider it,'' McDermott told the Sydney Morning Herald. ''I absolutely love working with Siddle, Pattinson and Starcy and Hilf, and all those guys. It was rewarding getting those guys to perform so well and beat India 4-0 in Australia a couple of years ago, and we bowled well in the West Indies after that. It's a good environment to work in, with athletes like that.
"I respect [Lehmann] very highly. I didn't play with him for Australia, he played for Australia after I retired. But he's certainly got a fantastic first-class record and for Australia and his coaching record now speaks for itself after the last couple of years with Queensland. His no-nonsense type approach will be well respected and well received from the Australian team."
Lehmann took over as Australia's coach after Mickey Arthur was sacked earlier in the week. Warne, who had earlier in the year suggested that Stephen Fleming take over from Arthur as coach, highlighted what he thought would be the differences between Arthur and Lehmann in terms of coaching.
"Boof [Lehmann] is not really a coach," Warne said. "Yes, sure he can tell you about technique but he will be speaking to players about how they approach the game and prepare. He is a mentor. He has been there, done it and endured all the ups and downs over a lifetime in cricket. He has a great rapport with players, a good understanding of how to balance the old school and new."
Warne, a critic of Australia's rotation policy, said Lehmann's practical approach to cricket would show in team selection, where he could be expected to play the best XI. He stated that preparations for Test matches would be old-school and "based on skills", a sign that that sports science would not dictate team selection.
"Boof will help Michael big time during breaks on match day. There is lots of good information and advice around these days in terms of sports science, recovery and fitness. But those things should not be the priority and dictate selection. With Boof cricket will come first. The other stuff will be supplementary," Warne said, while citing the instance of Peter Siddle's exclusion from the final Test against South Africa in November, 2012, with the series drawn at 0-0. Siddle was rested for the Test after suffering from exhaustion in the previous match.
McDermott, meanwhile, expressed strong confidence that Australia's bowlers would leave their mark on the Ashes. "I worked with the Australian boys for 2½ weeks before they left for England. I'm very happy with our bowling attack, it's as good as you'll get anywhere in the world, particular if they're all fit and bowling well," he said. "I've got every faith in them - we've just got to make sure we bowl the right line and length. It's the old adage - you bowl too short in England, you're easy pickings."